I have a lot of stories to tell, but I want to share the story that changed my life forever. I entered a drug gang when I was 15 years old, stealing cars, selling drugs, and having shootouts with the police, until eventually I controlled a favela and almost lost my life.
The biggest difficulty I had to overcome was getting myself out of the gang lifestyle.
After nine years and almost 4 years in prison I’d had enough. I wanted to get out. But I had a family to take care of and no money. At that point, Nanko stepped in to my life to gave me the chance of a better future. I worked for over 7 years for his social organization. During that time, I truthfully learned the right path. But after that long period I faced my second biggest challenge, Nanko died, I lost my job and my mother got sick and passed away. All this happened in the space of only three months.
I lost faith in life and the only thing I wanted to do was to go back to gang life. I felt there was no other way. But I kept my children and wife in mind and I knew this wasn’t the life I wanted for them. They gave me the strength to stay on the right path.
I created my own tour business and a social football project for over 50 children called INK. Nowadays I’m not only an example for the children I train, but also for my friends who are still active in gangs. I show them that there is an alternative.
I want to give the opportunities that Nanko once gave me, to the children in my area. I hope by sharing my story will spread the word to more people, and help me continue my work as a tour operator and social entrepreneur.
So if you are ever in Rio, contact me and I will give you a tour you will never forget.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fabio Rondinelle, 1980
Social entrepreneur & tour operator INK